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Your No. 1 Money Enemy? For Many, It's Their Mindset

Sheri (names in this post have been changed for privacy purposes) was in a financial hole when we met. She was caught up in a cycle of overspending and yet, she kept buying.
01/06/2015 02:36pm ET | Updated December 6, 2017
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Sheri (names in this post have been changed for privacy purposes) was in a financial hole when we met. She was caught up in a cycle of overspending and yet, she kept buying. Deep down she knew her shopping habits were hurting her overall financial picture. She'd tinker with her budget every now and then as a stop gap but overall, the impact of those changes were minor. She didn't know what was holding her back when she entered my workshop.

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The truth is, Sheri is not alone. As a wealth coach, I've seen countless clients (myself included) who struggle with deep-rooted beliefs that keep us stuck in an unhealthy money pattern. The interesting thing about money patterns is that we often don't realize we have them. In his book Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, cellular biologist Bruce Lipton states, "95 percent of the time, our life is controlled by the beliefs and habits that are programmed in the subconscious mind." Ultimately, from what I've seen in my practice, it's these habits that keep us from reaching our true financial destinies.

What Is a Limiting Money Belief?
Have you ever thought something like "I'm just not good with money," or "There's no way I can put away a rainy day fund on this salary," or even "I can't possibly ask my boss for a raise?" It may feel like you're taking conscious action with these statements. It's more likely, though, that your long-held money patterns are unknowingly holding you down. Your mind secretly knows that if you have a barrier in place, you can't be blamed for failing to achieve monetary abundance.

The good news is: it doesn't have to end this way.

Another client, Sandra, was feeling stuck at work. She was running at full capacity and still she couldn't make any extra headway. Through a series of guided meditations in one of my workshops, she discovered that she had been using money to prove her value to the people around her -- and her actions were limiting her opportunities to earn greater levels of income. When she stopped using her energy to prove her worth to others, she was able to start listening to what her clients were actually saying. "I help people more in the work that I do now that it comes from a place of listening closely and giving my full attention to others," she told me. "[Now] I see how I get back lots more from giving, rather than from taking."

I've even had clients who assumed they were living in a mindset of abundance but, upon further reflection, realized they were limiting themselves. Take Robert, for example, who came to me with a strong cost-cutting plan in place. He plan was sound but his inconsistent income stream made his strategy a challenge to maintain. Robert's self-exploration helped him realize he'd been living in survival mode for so long that he hadn't taken the time to develop a strategic plan for getting what he most wanted out of life. Making this one mindset shift allowed him to boost his income by 300 percent, in just six short months.

Overcoming Financial Barriers
To make a change to our money patterns, we have to first identify them. In my courses, we do this through multiple guided meditations, where we explore our histories with money and how our experiences shaped the way we think about our cash flows (or lack thereof). Once we identify our deep-rooted money thoughts, then we can start working to change them.

Remember Sheri, who couldn't budget her way out of her overspending pattern? Turns out her money history had been causing her feelings of shame around her finances. She was so ashamed of her behavior that she couldn't bring herself to reconcile her budget. Once she realized the feelings that drove her behavior, she was able to make a change for the better, even when she back slid.

"One month after the Living Wealthy Life workshop ended, I had a slip and went on a shopping spree," she told me. "What was different this time was that my shame was less. Now I'm able to examine the beliefs that were running through my head when I was overspending. I feel the motivation to get back on track."

Having the power to self-reflect is what makes any personal change possible. In my courses we engage in self-reflection through guided meditation and many other interactive exercises but counseling, journaling, or talking to a trusted friend can all be effective measures. In the end, it's all about identifying the money habits that are holding you back and looking for ways to build true wealth -- both inside and out.

Photo rights licensed from Bigstockphoto/Yastremska

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